Sunday, 27 May 2012

My Family

I had a huge post written about blended families and how difficult it can be to juggle everything (mainly the parents) but I've decided that actually I don't need to publish it. 

Chick and I have spent almost 10 years as a single Parent family which has been challenging at times but happy in the main:

Now our family looks a bit different and yes, I've been told that life isn't all glitter and fairies but now involves dinosaurs and trains too! I'm sure there will be times when it isn't easy but as long as the 5 of us are happy then life is all good :-)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Yin and Yang

It's good to have a contrast in life but ours tend to be full on busy and hectic. Most of the time this suits me just fine. I like the hustle and bustle of being busy, visiting friends, running to Brownies and Cello lessons, to my Grandma's and eating out:

I also lurve me some rock 'n' roll....preferably as loud as possible so Guns 'n' Roses are perfect for me:

As soon as the sun starts to shine though, I find that I need some yang to my yin. 

I crave the sea, relaxation, walks in the countryside and spending time with my girl. I really crave the sea. I lived near the sea as a youngster and every so often I get a craving for the salty sea air. I don't miss the busy-ness and the people but the large open spaces, the wind blowing you in every direction and the way looking out at the vast Ocean (or North Sea!!) can put your problems into perspective.

This week we've both been a bit off colour. Not particularly ill, just exhausted, run down and in need of some time. Time to spend with each other, time to relax, time out! On Wednesday I made the executive decision that both Chick and I would take the time and recover before we both got ill. Originally I was thinking about trying to satisfy my craving for the sea but as the nearest is 3 hours away, it isn't really conducive to a relaxing day.

Instead we headed out to the lake. This is the way to relax:

Uncle Nick joined us too:

We paddled, sunbathed, relaxed, ate lunch, meandered around the lake and Chick took pictures:

Then we came home and had a nap!! The right thing to do? Definitely. My daughter has her sparkle back instead of bags under her eyes, which no 9 year old should have.

Today everyone decided that they had things to do which left me home alone. At first I was a little bit put out that no-one wanted to spend Saturday with me but actually I managed to do the washing and clean the house in peace, listen to some music and generally have time for me. Once I got bored of my own company I headed out to the reservoir for an afternoon snack and some sunshine.  It was almost perfect -  the sun shone, the breeze blew, the ice cream was cold and if I closed my eyes I could almost convince myself I could smell the salty air:

I also appear to have my blogging mojo back so obviously the combination of sun and water is very good for me!!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Are you off to the Olympics? A few hints and tips.......

Like many poor old English people we weren't lucky (or rich) enough to get our hand on any tickets for the Olympics this Summer. Instead we got some tickets for last weekend and the 'London Prepare Series'. It was the official opening of the Olympic stadium and also a practice run for security, transport links, staff for the events etc.

The first thing is that there is no parking anywhere near, around or in the vicinity of Olympic park. I was hoping we could park at Stratford Westfield which certainly didn't appear to be an option on the day. We ended parking at Canary Wharf and the getting the tube in. 

Prior to the event, I was sent an e-mail from Ticketmaster asking us to use the tube station at West Ham, which we duly did. It was really well signposted to the park and had ultra friendly staff all along the route. I cannot praise the staff enough....everyone we spoke to all day was friendly, polite and had plenty of time to talk to the kids, pass the time of day and answer questions.....something of a rarity in the UK these days!!

The only downside(?) of using West Ham is that from there to the Hockey Stadium was just over a 2 mile walk! Now that's fine for me but if you've got smaller children you may want to be aware so you can plan a route exactly. You have to go through airport style security but in all honesty it was a breeze. As with an airport, you are unable to take fluids through the check point and they will be taken away from you if you try to take them in.

Which brings me nicely to food and drink! Obviously due to the 'no liquid' rule you have to buy all your drinks once there. It was about £2.50 for a diet coke or a bottle of water which is fairly expensive but I guess no more than usual London prices. There was a huge variety of food including sandwiches, jacket potatoes, fish and chips and loads of other stuff. It was all super expensive so I would take picnics with you if at all possible.

The Park itself is pretty cool although I'm not convinced this is worth the millions it cost:

This is Chick and The Punk outside Olympic Stadium:

We went to watch the hockey and had fabulous seats:

Both matches that we watched were brilliant!!!

I thought that we were well enough dressed to sit outside for 4 hours but it turns out that we definitely weren't. We had sun, plenty of rain, wind and cold. I can't begin to describe how exposed the stadium was and the wind properly howled around us. In fact it was so cold that we had to leave before the end as I just couldn't stand it any longer! Knowing how unpredictable the English weather is, I would say be prepared for all sorts and take gloves, scarfs, sunglasses and sun block :-)

One thing that I thought was really odd was that there didn't appear to be anywhere to buy souvenirs from! I honestly thought that the whole park would be overrun with stalls trying to wrestle your money away! Obviously with having the girls with me this was a blessing in disguise but we wanted to buy extra flags (to supplement our meagre, rain soaked, paper versions!!) and also a programme of some description.

On the whole it was a fab day so my main points would be:

Plan your route in and out of the park before you leave home

Wear flat and/or comfortable shoes

Remember there will be a lot of walking involved

Be prepared for all kinds of weather

Take a picnic if you don't have lots of spending money

Have fun :-)